Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Gregor the Overlander

Staff Pick: Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander

While searching for the Rat with the Human Face, friendships fray as club members Dave and Lyle compete for Marilla.

The first book in THE UNDERLAND CHRONICLES juvenile series is GREGOR THE OVERLANDER. It is the story of eleven year old, Gregor, and his two year old sister, Boots, who accidentally fall down an air duct and find themselves in a whole new underground land. This world is filled with all kinds of giant talking creatures- rats, spiders, bats, and even cockroaches. Collins uses as much detail as she does in her teen series, THE HUNGER GAMES, published five years later.

Recommended by: Karen Perry – Franklin Road Branch

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Staff Pick: The Rat with the Human Face

Staff Pick: The Rat with the Human Face

The Rat with the Human Face

While searching for the Rat with the Human Face, friendships fray as club members Dave and Lyle compete for Marilla.

Lyle, Dave and Marilla from The Poop Fountain are on another adventure. This time, the trio is out to find a rat with a human face that lives in the basement of a scientific research facility. Calling themselves the Qwikpick Adventure Society after the gas station owned by Lyle’s parents, the group overhears an electrician talk about the mysterious animal he saw while doing work in the building. They knew immediately they had to see this rat for themselves.

As with any plan, logistics are important. How do they get to the science building that is 40 miles away? How can they get away without their parents finding out? How can they avoid getting caught illegally entering a building?

The story is presented as an unofficial report of the society (with extra sheets paper clipped on to cover more personal matters not appropriate for the report) written by Lyle. We know from the beginning that after the adventure the society has been banned and that Marilla is not allowed to see Lyle anymore (which is too bad because he likes her and she may like him).

The kids are smart, fun and a little too curious for their own good. Their third adventure, To Kick a Corpse, is also available.

Recommended by: Will Smither – Decatur Branch

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Staff Pick: Toys Come Home

Staff Pick: Toys Come Home

Toys Come Home

When a little girl gets a plush stingray for her birthday, it makes friends with some of her other toys as they all try to navigate in the world of real people.

Toys come Home chronicles the early days of three brave and loyal toys: Stingray a plush ray, Lumphy, a plush Buffalo and Plastic, a rubber ball. The toys all live in Honey’s room and have adventures after Honey and her parents go to sleep. Reminiscent of the movie Toy Story and the wonderful Velveteen Rabbit, the toys ponder the notions of friendship, specialness and what it means to be real. This is a wonderful read-a-loud and my 11 year-old son was eager for more. Happily, I found this title is actually a prequel and there are three additional titles in the series: Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party and the newest, Toys Meet Snow. We’ve now read them all and wish there were more! Highly recommended.

Recommended by: Nancy Poppleton – Glendale Branch

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March: Indiana Disability Awareness Month

March: Indiana Disability Awareness Month

March is Indiana Disability Awareness Month organized by the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities. The Indiana Disability Awareness website has a lot of information including a free awareness kit and a recommended reading list for children.

Listed below are some selections from your own IndyPL Children’s Librarians of their favorite titles that feature characters with disabilities.

Websites

Wonder Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.Wonder by RJ Palacio~Barb Obergfell, Outreach Services
Cool Midnight Nine-year-old Lila, born with xeroderma pigmentosum, a skin disease that make her sensitive to sunlight, makes secret plans to feel the sun’s rays on her tenth birthday. And so, she plays at night with her friends – who might or might not be real.Cool Moonlight by Angela JohnsonBarb Obergfell, Outreach Services
Spider Sparrow Spider, a baby abandoned on an English farm, grows up to be mentally slower than other children but manifests a remarkable talent for communicating with animals as he comes of age during World War II, a slower child whose quiet, calm, kind nature is a gift to everyone.Spider Sparrow by Dick King-Smith~Barb Obergfell, Outreach Services
Wonderstruck Wonderful! Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures.Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick~Erin Moehring, Southport Branch Library and Janet Spaulding, Selection Services
A Dog Called Homeless Fifth-grader Cally Louise Fisher stops talking, partly because her father and brother never speak of her mother who died a year earlier, but visions of her mother, friendships with a homeless man and a disabled boy, and a huge dog ensure that she still communicates.A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean~Janet Spaulding, Selection Services
For the older boys and girls I highly recommend Sharon Draper’s Out Of My Mind( jFIC). It’s also a Young Hoosier Book – very well written and thought provoking. It’s about a young girl who’s body is deformed (wheelchair bound), she can’t speak and her body spasms uncontrollably at the most inopportune times. She is very bright and knows the answers to the questions teachers ask, but has no way to express her knowledge. Everyone, except her family thinks she is retarded or dumb. How frustrating that must be. Finally with the help of a special computer she is able to communicate. I couldn’t wait to read what happened next!Out of My Mind by Sharon DraperConsidered by many to be mentally disabled, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.~Linda Tegmeyer, Brightwood Branch Library
I recommend:The Kaleidoscope Kid by Elaine LarsonPresents a collection of poems pointing out the variety of intellectual strengths and personality traits possessed by children with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism.~Joseph Fox, Wayne Branch Library
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Staff Pick: enormous SMALLNESS

Staff Pick: enormous SMALLNESS

Enormous Smallness

Enormous Smallness is a nonfiction picture book about the poet E. E. Cummings. Here E.E.’s life is presented in a way that will make children curious about him and will lead them to play with words and ask plenty of questions as well. Lively and informative, the book also presents some of Cummings’s most wonderful poems, integrating them seamlessly into the story to give the reader the music of his voice and a spirited, sensitive introduction to his poetry.

“This book proves that the old saying “Good things come in small packages” is true. Edward Estlin Cummings became one of the great poets of our country by writing small, short poems which celebrate the everyday pleasures in life – birds, snowflakes, and even grasshoppers. His ability to write poetry showed at an early age as his mother wrote down his first poem when he was only three! Later he chose to use only small letters when writing poetry and signing his name. Even if you aren’t a reader of biographies, you will find this small biography enjoyable, fascinating, and candy for the eyes. Nonfiction with ZING!”

Recommended by: Cindy Childers – Garfield Park Branch Library

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